ABB Acquires Real Tech, Plans to Expand Smart Water Offerings

Real Tech's water sensors used at a water treatment site

(Credit: ABB)

by | Jan 9, 2024

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ABB has acquired optical sensor technology company Real Tech aiming to expand its presence in the smart water management sector.

Real Tech offers a product portfolio meant to take critical, real-time water measurements in order to streamline traditional, and often time-consuming, water quality assessment. The company provides optical sensors, controllers, and accessories that cover the whole digital water value chain by using data creation and analytics. Their proprietary artificial intelligence software platform, Liquid AI, can simplify data analysis, using information from Real Tech sensors.

“We are excited to welcome all our new colleagues to the ABB family,” said Jacques Mulbert, division president of ABB Measurement & Analytics. “We look forward to jointly driving the innovation and growth journey of Real Tech. Joining forces with ABB will accelerate the deployment of Real Tech’s technologies through the vast ABB global sales and service network, making a step change in access to market. The acquisition is an important part of ABB Measurement & Analytics’ strategy, which includes adding advanced environmental technologies to the portfolio.”

ABB, which offers electrification and automation software for infrastructure development, utilities, transport, and industrial operations, has expanded considerably into the United States market, investing over $14 billion since 2010. ABB’s acquisition of Real Tech follows additional acquisitions of U.S. companies, including Baldor, Thomas & Betts, and General Electric Industrial Solutions.

Water Sensor Technologies Contributes to Efficient Water, Wastewater Management

According to the UN and World Resources Institute, the planet is expected to face a 56% water deficit by 2030, in part because of inadequate water management. The UN said that water should be treated as a scarce resource, and quality data on water resources may be key to water conservation and sustainable consumption. Further, ABB said that only 11% of the world’s treated wastewater is reused and about half of the world’s untreated wastewater enters lakes, rivers, and seas.

Water sensor technology can assess a wide range of pollutants and various water quality measurements, allowing for efficient, accurate water management. They may also help conserve water by tracking how much water is being used by a given building, identifying where water is being wasted, or finding the location of leaks.

Real Tech said its commitment to real-time water quality monitoring as a tool for empowering utilities and other water-managing industries to engage in sustainable water management, and ABB plans to bring these capabilities to its customers going forward. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close during the first quarter of 2024, were not disclosed.

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